I love entertaining in the summer, because the meals are always lighter and, it seems, a little simpler. You throw a few veggies together, toss a few chunks of meat on the barbecue, and everyone is happy because it’s hot out.
I came by this recipe when looking up something easy for a rather impromptu dinner party. It was a party pleaser, mainly because of the fresh ingredients. And also the base of bread and cheese. You can never go wrong with bread and cheese.
White Bean and Summer Vegetable Salad (found on Food52.com)
- 1 ear of corn
- 1 shallot
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup sun gold tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked white beans
- 3/4 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/3 cup minced chives
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- the juice and zest of 1 small lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
- kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper
- Shuck the corn. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and then cook the corn for 1-3 minutes, or just until the kernels brighten–fresh corn barely needs cooking. Remove the corn from the water and, when it’s cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cob, and into a large bowl. (Or, if the corn isn’t quite ripe in the season yet, drain a can of corn kernels, rinse, and use that instead, like me).
- Meanwhile, mince the shallot. Move the minced shallot to a small bowl, along with the white wine vinegar. Use a spoon to toss the shallot with the vinegar, until the shallot is coated. (Let this sit about 10 minutes; the vinegar will soften the flavor of the shallot.)
- Add cherry tomatoes, sun gold tomatoes and rinsed white beans to the large bowl.
- Chiffonade the basil leaves, and mince the chives; add them to the large bowl, too. Add the olive oil, the lemon juice and zest, and the hot sauce. Add kosher salt and the black pepper to taste. Add the shallots and the vinegar. Use a spatuala (or your hands) to mix all the ingredients together. Wait a couple of minutes, and then give the salad a taste–add additional seasoning, or a splash more olive oil, according to your preferences.
I served the salad on toasted rounds of french bread, with one side brushed in olive oil. With this I sliced a log of fresh mozzarella cheese. The mild flavours complemented the salad and I think made a real winner. I’ll be making this again for sure.
To round out the meal, we served barbecued chicken, then strawberries with shortbread cookies and maple whipped cream for dessert. A perfect end to a sunny summer day!
Word of the day:
Sybaritic: pertaining to or characteristic of a sybarite;characterized by or loving luxury or sensuous pleasure: towallow in sybaritic splendor.